A overturned semi-truck with a chemical tanker accident leads to the temporary traffic closure on Kawaihae Road (Highway 19) in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday morning (December 17th).
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck carrying a chemical tanker on Kawaihae Road (Highway 19) in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday morning (December 17th).
The initial call came in at 7:20 am Tuesday morning and HFD crews from the Waimea Fire Station and HPD officers from the South Kohala Patrol responded to the scene on Kawaihae Road just west of 62-mile marker in Kamuela near the Kanehoa Subdivision.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, initial reports came in that semi-truck carrying a fuel tank trailer had flipped onto a hill just east of the 62-mile marker on Kawaihae Road. The driver of the semi was able to safely self-extricate and reported to be not injured, awaiting the arrival of emergency crews.
Once emergency crews arrived on the scene, HFD crews worked to stabilize the semi and the trailer carrying Methanol, however, if it was unknown if any of the liquid had leaked from the tanker. HPD officers briefly temporarily closed Kawaihae Road while HFD crews worked to secure the scene and officers later were able to have one lane of traffic open until the semi and trailer could be upright and removed from the scene.
Due to the chemical in the tanker, HFD's West Hawaii Hazardous Material Team from the Makalei Fire Station has been notified and is currently being consulted on how to safely handle the current situation without further incident. A large-sized tow wrecker has been dispatched to help with uprighting the tanker. Also, Kawaihae Road between 61 and the 63-mile marker is now closed to all traffic and will remain closed until further notice/scene is safely cleared.
High winds and gust in the area may have contributed to the semi and trailer flipping onto the hillside.
High Wind Advisory remained in effect for the South Kohala district through Tuesday evening with sustained winds of 25-35 mph and stronger gust reported in low lying/downhill areas.
Here's a video of Methanol and special handling needed for when incidents similar to happen: